@89 days until Hiroshima Summit: Itsukushima Shrine

by Tomohiro Nagai, Staff Writer

Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island in Hatsukaichi City was registered as a World Heritage site in 1996. The Japanese government is planning to have the leaders of the The Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations visit the island during the G7 Hiroshima Summit. Some people believe the entire island is a World Heritage site, but in fact, the registered area covers approximately 430 hectares, including the shrine, part of the sea along the coast, and the virgin forest of Mt. Misen behind the shrine.

The shrine is believed to have been built in 593, when Emperor Suiko ascended the throne, and was remodeled in the Heian period (794-1185) after the style of palace architecture at the time under the patronage of the powerful leader, Taira no Kiyomori. Six of the shrine’s buildings, including the main hall, are designated as national treasures, and 11 buildings and three structures, including the Noh stage, are nationally-designated important cultural properties.

Major restoration work on the shrine’s O-torii Gate, also a national important cultural property, was completed in December 2022. It is expected the G7 leaders will take commemorative photos against the backdrop of the gate.

(Originally published on February 19, 2023)